Google maps                                A man is facing several charges after pulling a firearm on an employee and customer at the Hilltop Esso gas station in Keremeos on Sunday morning.

Google maps A man is facing several charges after pulling a firearm on an employee and customer at the Hilltop Esso gas station in Keremeos on Sunday morning.

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

Life flashed before Rebecca Malek’s eyes when a man lifted a shotgun from his lap and pointed it at her and a customer at the Keremeos Esso early Sunday morning.

“I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun,” she told the Keremeos Review during an interview earlier this week.

“He lifts his shotgun off his lap and points it at us through his car window and ‘click.’ I just stand there. Trevor runs as soon as he hears the click; he runs behind the building.”

Despite the harrowing experience Malek keeps a sense of humour about it all as she says, “At least he didn’t push me as he ran away or use me as a human shield.”

Malek and the customer Trevor Milton Gilbert know each other well from the community.

Another employee came out of the store and was on the phone with police as the man drove away with the gun still pointed out the window as he stared at those outside.

The gun did not fire. It’s unknown at this time if the gun was loaded or it just didn’t go off.

The man arrested was a 52-year-old Olalla man who was involved in a police incident which caused Highway 3A to be closed for several hours about two weeks ago. At that time the man was taken under the Mental Health Act and treated in hospital for an unknown period of time.

Related: UPDATE: Olalla man taken into custody following police incident

Malek said the man was in the vicinity of the store three times on Sunday morning between 5:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. when he pulled the gun.

The first time he stopped on the roadway and yelled at a customer at the pumps.

“I was outside putting the fire extinguishers out. There was a guy getting gas. The guy stopped and was yelling at him, ‘if so and so doesn’t give me back my (expletive) he’s (expletive) dead.” she said.

A short time later the man comes into the gas station and says he needs coffee.

“When he didn’t pay for his coffee I realized he was the guy that threatened the other guy earlier. He says ‘it’s gonna be a long day,’ he’s ranting while he’s getting coffee and then he just leaves without paying.”

The final time she was inside the store with Gilbert while he was getting coffee before he went to work.

The two heard squealing tires from the gas pumps.

“I looked out and we saw him pushing Trevor’s car with his car. Trevor’s car was parked, no keys in it. He was just ramming it with his car. I tell the other worker to grab the phone and call the police and tell Trevor to grab his phone so we can videotape what he’s doing,” she said.

By the time the pair ran out of the door the man had rammed Gilbert’s car across the roadway and was continuing to push it as it hit a fence and came to a stop on a berm.

“He hears us talking and comes speeding up to us. We jumped behind the rail in front of Subway. That’s when he lifted the shotgun and we heard the click,” she said.

The man took off and headed towards Penticton where police caught up with him around 10 a.m.

“I felt better after I heard they got him and I was able to talk to the police,” Malek said.

Cpl. Brian Evans of the RCMP detachment said the man is facing five charges, four firearms related and one for dangerous driving. Police executed a search warrant on the man’s home in Olalla on Monday as well as his car, which was in custody in Penticton.

Evans said the same man was involved in a mental health incident on Nov. 28 where he barricaded himself in his home. The incident closed Highway 3A between Keremeos and Penticton for several hours. The man was taken in under the Mental Health Act and treated at hospital. Evans said police are not told how long people are kept in hospital when taken under the Mental Health Act nor are they notified when they are released.

He added on Nov. 28 the man was not charged as he hadn’t committed any criminal offences.

To report a typo, email:
editor@keremeosreview.com
.


@TaraBowieBC
editor@keremeosreview.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read